NFL Goes Back To Rugby Rules On High Tackling

Note for more background if you need it this thread from the past on the matter of concussions when this matter was discussed at length last season:


Essentially the new rules are against high tackles of any kind (above the shoulders) with launching into a player's neck and head altogether with any part of the body now being against the rules. It is complicated if you try to read through the wording of the new section of rules, but basically high tackles are outlawed.

Let's hope whenever they play again that the officials are consistent in application of the new rules. The players, with especially the prospect of stiff fines, will adjust as they have already and contrary to many a prediction otherwise that they could not adjust and still be effective in play.

Fortunately, grazing blows to the helmet of the QB by a pass rusher, or by any given player, that are incidental or secondary contact are exempt. That was always such a lame call too.

Rightly so the rules are going to the side of prudent safety, and oddly enough these rules go back to what has always been the case in rugby that some think is so rough just because they play without pads.

Geez they figured out in the NFL to get rid of the head-slap, clothes line, and flying wedge years ago (but were very late on its use as a kickoff return tactic before outlawing it on those plays too) and they sure have been really late to the party on this one.

If you like me have played both games, you know that the padding actually encourages the more vicious hits and does not offer protection for such situations even for the hitting player at times.

We've seen that many a time especially in the secondary when any given DB, usually getting the better of the launch shot on a receiver, is also shaken up or hurt.

If you like me have played both games, you know that the padding actually encourages the more vicious hits and does not offer protection for such situations even for the hitting player at times.

Well, exactly, that's what Don Cherry has been say on HNIC forever, that's his mantra. But both hockey and football aren't going back, it's going to be more padding and better padding and lighter padding in the future so - adapt with this as there will not be any other option. Like it or lump it. Both are contact sports, well football is a more purer game and contact sport and as such you'll see the better padding for sure.

Hockey, well, that's a game I'm still not sure about in terms of it's raison d'etre in terms of contact. And I've played the game most of my life. Still don't quite "get it" to be honest. The NHL could go non-contact like women's hockey and it wouldn't surprise me because itself isn't quite sure of itself.

Football, never will happen and that's what I love about the game, it's a tackle game, end of story.

Earl and all, I am all for hard hits be it football, rugby, or hockey, but I have never been for grievously unsafe hits such as shots intended for initial and primary above the shoulders.

Why it has taken football so long in the US to outlaw them as did rugby union long ago baffles me, but now the NFL has done it at last and in due time likely so will the rest of American football.

How I wish the NHL would treat fighting as severely as they do in the Olympics so that we see more of its hockey like that in international tournaments instead of the brawling nonsense along the lines of sloppy MMA on ice well before there was MMA, but hey it seems most NHL fans will disagree with that opinion for some reason.

Most surprising to me was how in the Olympics last year they managed to play the tournament on a North American rink just fine, so now there is no need to go to the international rink in the NHL as well though I would not be opposed to that too if it would open up the game more.

I think the economics of such an event would be a huge mess.

I think by this point one can conclude that overall that the new policies have been a success, and most players have also adjusted their technique.

Now basically the changes only have to trickle down to the NCAA and high school and junior and pee wee football where those poor tackling techniques are taught in the first place.

One of the problems in hockey is that it is not a primary contact game like football, you can play 10 minutes in a period with no significant hit so it lulls the players to freewheel and not think and then all of a sudden bang, someone gets clobbered say a winger reaching back for a pass or that. At least in football you know when the ball is coming someone is going to try and hit you or if you have the ball someone will be trying to hit/tackle you so you're always prepared, well unless your reaching for a pass and in a vulnerable position but that's part of it.

Hockey just needs to keep focusing on the illegal hits and suspending guys, the rules are there now with the head shots but you're still going to get concussions even from a legal hit, it is afterall a contact sport. Football as well, legal hits concussions will still happen.

Well said Earl, as for either game it is not about eliminating any such risk of injury given that blows to the head can also be accidential.

The discussion is about eliminating more of those that are not in the long-term spirit of either game given the injury risk as otherwise can be reduced.

The NFL acted late but decisively, and it stands for the NHL to do the same.

For all those who make the claim that somehow hockey would be tarnished and so forth, which I find is overwhelmingly most of those who are more into the fights than the actual game itself, consider how well the Olympic tournament went with the best hockey ever played even on an NHL-sized rink.

Apparently there are no less than six lawsuits in progress against the NFL for doing too little or even nothing about the matter for so long such that even recently retired players are having issues as are common for players when they should not be playing for awhile after a concussion:

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At least the NFL made some decisions on high hits last year and is enforcing them but only after "Crash Sunday" in October 2010 at that when it was beyond obvious that changes had to be made.

Now the NFL already is talking about tightening things up further (i.e. ban all hits to the head and neck of any kind as are not already banned except for on any ball-carrier not upright; incidental/secondary contact is okay so long as the initial aiming point of a hit or tackle also was not high).

Most of the calls have been correct too.

The thing with Hockey is padding and protective equipment is really needed. Don can say whatever he wants on this subject, and I agree with his stance on no-touch icing, but when you are factoring a three inch piece of frozen vulcanized rubber going at a speeds up to 160mph hurtling at someone, or the impact of hitting the ice or boards after a trip while skating without equipment on or the invariable stick hacking that happens during a game you have a recipe for a LOT of pain, nevermind the actual body checking. There was a fitting caption I found on a website under Maurice "The Rocket" Richard's picture I read one time. It read, "No, this isn't a picture of prisoner torture in an underground military facility, it's just Maurice Richard taking his uniform off after another routine day at the office."

I'd also like to see them take fighting out of the game. To quote the same website. "In most sports, cold-cocking an opposing player repeatedly in the face with a series of gigantic Slovakian uppercuts would get you a multi-game suspension without pay. In hockey, it means you have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes."

Great find Hammer with the Maurice Richard quote. :thup:

I don't know if hockey will remove fighting from the highest levels of the game. If it's so important and.such a fundamental part of the game as.some say then keep it in kids hockey and teach them how to fight from the get go. :wink:

I am noticing more also as the season progresses that most announcers just do not understand the new rules, for hardly a game goes by that they don't mention what they think is a bad call especially when a DB launches a shoulder into a receiver's helmet when that receiver has not completed a catch.

The new rules with all the verbiage break down rather simply.

When any player with the ball other than the running ball carrier (a running back, receiver well after completing the catch and possession, a quarterback on the run, a kick returner) is hit with any part of the body above such a player's shoulders, whether by intent or not, it is a personal foul. Players remain ultimately responsible for the destination of their launching point or hit on another player.

Furthermore if the face mask is grabbed or the primary point of contact is the helmet to make any such a hit, i.e. spearing, there is no change from the previous rules for those personal fouls anyway. When a player without the ball is hit above the shoulders, the same old rules regarding face masks, illegal hands to the face, and/or personal fouls also apply. There is some discretion afforded of course along the line of scrimmage between the tackles, but even the head slap was outlawed over 40 years ago as was the 'clothes line' long ago.

An unforeseen consequence of this rule change though is that the draft value of a free safety is diminished and more of the strong safeties now are more like the linebackers of 15 years ago in size who can also cover far better. I doubt for example we'll see another Ronny Lott, Mel Blount, or Jack Tatum.

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Here's a great article on the matter as also explains the specific rules and also why they are fine as changed such that there should not be any more changes.